Sixty-nine entrants turned up at Willowbank Raceway in Queensland for the running of the Australian Motorkhana Championship. Four different test areas were set up by the Holden Sporting Car Club, and the field split into four groups. The reversing tests were on Area 1, manoeuvring tests on Areas 2 and 3, and slalom tests on Area 4.
The traditional test “Hopkirk” started the day, and Scott Bennett (WA Turben Special) rocketed into an early lead with a time 1.3 seconds faster than the next best time. Kevin Goldfinch (NSW Moke) was best of Class A, Peter Lepherd (Qld MX5) best of Class B, Michael Parker (Qld Sigma) best of Class C, Terry Scharf (Qld Skyline) best of Class D, Jeff Salmon (Vic WRX) fastest in Class E.
Top Hat was next test, where Alan McConnell (Qld Mini Spl) was fastest, David Elliot (WA Moke) best of A, Jeremy Lepherd (14 yo, Qld MX5) was fastest in Class B, Ken Graham (Qld Datsun 1600) best of C, Craig Hornibrook (Qld Commodore) fastest D, Salmon in E.
Then followed Triple Loop. Corinne East-Johnson (NSW Honda Spl) and Alan McConnell shared fastest time, Gary Kotzur (Qld Moke) in A, Peter Lepherd blitzed class B, Dan Callan (Qld Prelude) fastest in C, Reece McIntosh (ACT Skyline) fastest D, Salmon in E.
Fourth test was Straight Slalom, Corinne was fractionally fastest outright, and Elliot fastest in A. Peter Lepherd was fastest in B, Robert Rigg (NSW Peugeot 205) fractionally fastest in C, McIntosh in D, Ken Dixon (Qld WRX) best in E.
The field was rotated by one third, and Paddy followed on Area 1. Aaron Wuillemin (Vic W-003 Spl) was fastest outright, Elliot in A, Michael Heslewood (NSW Lancer) best of B, Parker best of C, Scharf blitzed D, Salmon in E.
Star was the next test. Corinne was fastest outright, Elliot in A, Peter Lepherd (even quicker that all class A) was fastest in B, Rigg in C, McIntosh in D, Dixon in E.
Diamond Slalom has never been run at the AMC before, and Alan McConnell mastered it best. Continuous loops at speed gives little advantage to specials, and some of the production cars set outstanding times. Goldfinch best of A, Peter Lepherd in B, Scott Doyle (Qld Escort) fastest in C, McIntosh in D, Salmon in E.
Historic Straight Slalom is short and fast, and needs good traction to get off the hairpin at the end. Scott Bennett did it best, Elliot in A, Heslewood in B, Joel Neilson (Qld Toyota 86) debuted the car to be fastest in C, Hornibrook in D, Salmon in E.
The last set of tests started with Reverse Garage. Scott Bennett was fastest outright, Elliot in A, Stuart Bell (Qld MX5) best of B, Ken Graham best of C, McIntosh in D, Salmon in E.
Then Bowler followed, with Jim Newell (WA Delta SS) fastest outright, Elliot in A, Bell best of B, Callan in C, McIntosh way fastest in D, as was Salmon in E.
Try Angles was next. McConnell was fastest outright, Kotzur best of A, Peter Lepherd in B, Doyle in C, Hornibrook in D, Salmon in E.
Last Test was Forward and Reverse Slalom, won by Aaron Wuillemin. Elliot was fastest in A, Peter Lepherd in B, Callan in C, McIntosh in D, Salmon in E.
While the results of these tests were worked out, two brand new tests were set up for the top 10 shootout for specials and for production cars. “Rats” and “Jellyfish” were used, but a timing glitch rendered the times for Rats unusable. Corinne East-Johnson was fastest in the specials, and Stewart Bell (MX5) fastest in Production cars.
The overall results were Scott Bennett (WA) first by 1.8 seconds over Corinne East-Johnson (NSW) and David Beames (SA Delta S) third. Class A was won by Gary Kotzur, Class B by Peter Lepherd, Class C by Ken Graham, Class D by Reece McIntosh, Class E by Jeff Salmon. Class F won by Scott Bennett, and class G by Aaron Wuillemin.
Fastest Lady in Production car was Janene Carrad (Qld Commodore), and in Specials, Corinne was victor. Fastest Junior in Specials was William Bennett (WA Turben), and in production cars, Jeremy Lepherd was the fastest.
The presentation dinner was held that night, and many of the previous champions were surprised to actually see the Australian Motorkhana Champion Trophy for the first time. All previous winners wanted their photo taken with the trophy, and then a group photo was taken of all the previous champions present with the trophy. It went back to CAMS head office the next day.
Next year the Australian Motorkhana Championship will be held in South Australia. That state will also be running the inaugural Australian Khanacross Championship, and it is hoped that these two events will be held on consecutive weekends to make it a feast for lovers of Grassroots Motorsport.